The Genetics of Belief

Faith communities at their best add immeasurably to the storehouse of human well-being. Works of charity, celebration of the ineffable Mystery of the world, rites of passage, ethical principles'

Excuse me! Faith communities, throughout time, have followed the example of the Abrahamic god who murdered and instructed his people to murder. If you doubt it, all you have to do is read the holy scriptures or the diaries of the men and women burned at the stake because they understood the healing power of herbs, or the men who were slaughtered at the whim of this capricious god who seemed to favor one clan over another, one village over another, one people over all others. Let us not forget the Crusades or the Inquisitions. Have you read the histories of these outrageous mass murders? Or let us not forget what the religious invading Spanish and English colonizers and their attempt at genocide. Read that history if you want your toenails to curl. 

Murders, rapes, hangings, burnings, oppression, exploitation, domination.

It puzzles me that when people talk of their religion they discuss such things as love, cooperation, care, commitment, faith, obedience to a high power when the literature reveals the most god-awful atrocities committed in the name of their god, whoever that is. 

What do I see? Hate! Hatred of Blacks! Hatred of women! Hated of men who think differently than you! Hatred of homosexuals. Hatred of immigrants! 

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Faith communities have habitually indulged in selective vision, compartmentalization, willful ignorance, and (whether they want to believe it or not) systematic castigation of those who do not belong to their particular in-group.  If they come around to societal changes, they are frequently the last to do so, though also tending to allege well after the fact that they were leading the charge.

Such people are an embarrassment to the rest of Homo sapiens.

Thomas, I can cite everything from a reliance on Psalms 14:1 regarding atheists to the bullying of gays and Lesbians, based on Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.  Every half-assed challenge we get, from "where do you get your morals" to the implicit threat behind Pascal's Wager is part of their standard language and toolkit.

If I call it "systematic," it's because of the repeated incidences reported here and elsewhere by those who have been forced to put up with those specious arguments and others like them.

Thomas, Ouch! I read a lot of pain in your comment! 

This I know now...... that because of me, there was a lot shame involved.

Are there some things about you that you feel pride and self-respect? Can you tell us things about yourself that make you smile, or happy, or proud? 

Thomas, I was largely clueless about religion for the vast majority of my life.  I was raised christian and taught that christianity was necessary to civilize the world, and mostly I agreed with that concept.  In my early adulthood, I got away from it, but continued to sustain a sense of spirituality, mostly through my practice of TM.  Among other things, it took the catholic priest / child abuse scandal and 9/11 to wake me up out of my torpor and light the flame which would feed the firebrand atheist in me.

And indeed, firebrand I am now, though less determined to utterly eliminate religion than to blunt its influence in society and especially in government.  The pragmatism which I learned as an engineer has forced me to recognize realities on the ground regarding what is possible regarding social and religious engineering and what isn't.  That doesn't change the fact that religion is irrational, and the more such irrationality spreads among people, the more endangered we and our planet become.  We simply cannot afford that irrationality anymore, not and hope to survive long term.  It is that big picture I care about, less for myself than for my daughter.

That's why I fight.

My father, a first-class hypocrite, used to thank his god for his selective memory. He called it a big blessing...

Oh! yes, Chris, those old ghosts haunt us. 

Apart from that, hypocritical characters fascinate me, because I can't understand if or how they can have an internal consistency.

- everything they say or do serves their own needs, never another's.

- they use empathy only to lower your defenses and use you.

- they love no one but themselves.

- truth is what they want and has nothing to do with generally accepted things.

- etc.

Remember anyone like that? Shun them like the plague.

 

Those behaviors define sociopathy and narcissism well.

Their consistency?

Everything they do is for themselves, yet one way to recognize them early is that they will at first and smoothly seem concerned only with you.

Some of the literature says another way to recognize them early is their predatory stare.

One college psychology professor advised "Don't lie to a sociopath. He will spot clues that you don't know you are sending."

Yes, shun them like the plague.

To learn more search on "Robert Hare". He made studying them a career.

Thanks Tom, I like your description.

I assume, Chris, you are referring to Donald Trump.

Also funny, but it was a description of my father.

I wonder if I can replace old, painful memories with new, empowering memories? 

One week challenge: Whenever an old painful memory comes to mind, replace it with a new, empowering one. Starting today, Aug 31, 2016. 11:23 AM PDT.

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